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Lakeland has been home to a large number of civic organizations and clubs over the years, ranging from the Tourist Club to the Woman's Club to the Lakeland chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. The Special Collections unit houses the records of more than 20 civic organizations, clubs, and professional groups based or founded in Lakeland.

For some organizations, there is no more than a scrapbook or two. For others there is a nearly complete record of the activities of the organization. Historic Lakeland is an example of the latter. Some organizations, such as the Tourist Club of Lakeland are no longer active, and the records housed in Special Collections are the only evidence of the existence of those organizations. Other organizations, such as the Garden Club and Historic Lakeland, are still very active and make regular additions to their holdings.